Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week Nineteen

Event:  Donated Blood

Throughout my lifetime, I've been able to come up with every excuse in the book on why I can't give blood.  This week, my company was doing a blood drive and I decided now was the time.  I mean, what's the worse that can happen? 

For the record, I'm not afraid of needles and I don't get weak in the knees at the sight of blood.  But I do ask that the blood center representatives are clean, educated and knowledgeable.  So imagine my surprise when I am greeted by a woman who has no front teeth (or any teeth on the top for that matter).  Luckily, she just signed me in and handed me off to someone else.  Whew.  Now I'm in the hands of a young guy who appears nice and clean, but as I look closer, his nails are longer than mine and he keeps making comments like "Sorry, I just got here so I'm a little scatter-brained" and "You're my first patient of the day so hopefully all goes well..."  Are you kidding me?  As it turned out, his only job was to take my blood pressure and prick my finger.  Again, whew.

After passing his tests, I was told to sit down, drink a bottle of water and do some exercises to get the blood flowing.  Sitting in the hard, plastic chair, chugging my water, doing my exercises, I quickly became aware of how freaking cold it was in this room.  At one point I looked down and my arms were shaking.  Part nerves, part hypothermia.  But before I could do anything about it, it was time to go.  I was escorted to a bed and the whole time I was praying, "Please give me someone who knows what they're doing, has all their teeth and a loving personality who will hold my hand."  Well, two out of three ain't bad.  As I sat down on my bed, the nurse turned to me and she was sweet and kind and has been doing this for 20 years but she was MISSING TWO FRONT TEETH!  What are the chances! 

I'm pretty sure I told her 12 times that I have never done this before and she assured me it would be fine.  As I started to relax, I overheard another nurse say, "Can I see the new needle when you're ready for her?"  I was like, WHAT NEW NEEDLE?  So, toothless wonder explained to me that they use a new needle that has wings to make the blood flow faster.  MY NEEDLE HAS WINGS?  I mean, as if this experience wasn't traumatic enough, I now have to picture a Robin Hood sized arrow going into my teeny tiny vein.  She then said, "You know, it's like those maxi pads - the ones with the wings!"  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. 

Before I knew it, she was sterilizing my arm with a Q-tip the size of a ping-pong ball and as she tied the rubber band around my upper arm, I realized there was no turning back.  She reminded me to breath and move my legs to get the circulation going and warned me if I started to get warm, I should let her know.  That was no concern of mine, considering I was fighting off frost bite as I laid there.  And we're off. 

The maxi-pad needle was in and according to my new BFF the blood was flowing good and fast.  She stayed by my side as I gently squeezed the paper towel covered ball.  She kept me posted on how much progress I was making.  First 30 ml, then 100 ml, then 200 ml, then 350 ml and as I turned the corner with only 100 ml left, something happened.  I was dizzy, hot, seeing stars and my mouth was salivating.  My nurse looked at me and said, "You ok?"  I was fading fast.  Before I knew it, three little nurse bees were swarming all around me, putting ice cold towels on my forehead, behind my neck, even under my shirt!  They put my chair down flat and forced me to start drinking Sprite from a straw.  Ahh sweet nectar.  Slowly, I came back to life, and was told to burp like a truck driver.  Boy did I ever.  I bounced back about as quickly as I went down and during that time, I finished up my pint.  Hooray!  My arms and legs were heavy as lead, so I had to sit in my chair and drink my Sprite with two hands like a 4-year-old.  A few minutes later I was escorted over to the revitalization station where I treated myself to a Coke, 6 Oreo cookies and two stickers.  I was proud.

Once I felt like I was back to my old self, I celebrated with chicken fingers and quickly made it to my next meeting.  Despite being late due to my near faint, I assured myself and the team I was feeling much better.  That was until I started speaking - and instead of saying, "Let's go over the first part" I said, "Let's go over the pirst FART." 

End scene, fade to black, roll credits.  I'm done.

1 comment:

  1. I hope this story ended well...I had to stop reading as soon as you mentioned a needle with wings. my body got hot and my head got dizzy.